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Rock Opera Takes Final Westchester Bow Before Off-Broadway

In the heart of Westchester, where the echoes of rock ‘n’ roll history mix with the pulse of artistic innovation, Choices: A Rock Opera took its first steps. The production, which premiered at the Whippoorwill Hall Theater in North Castle Public Library last year, was more than a musical. According to writer and director John Krupa, it aimed to be an experience, wherein every viewer could find something memorable. After nearly two years of “workshopped” performances, Choices will take its final Westchester bow at Emelin Theatre on November 24-26 before touring and landing on Off-Broadway.

Four years ago, Krupa embarked on a journey that was born from a suggestion that he write a book about his life as an ’80s rock star. Instead, Krupa discovered his narrative through music. The result was a semi-autobiographical tale of a musician torn between the allure of life on the road and the comfort of love, all set against the backdrop of ’80s glam rock.

The full-fledged event has the structure of a traditional opera, but powered by rock and roll instrumentation. The music, described as “straight-ahead hair band rock and roll,” takes a somber turn in the second act, mirroring the emotional depths of the storyline.

Since its premiere at the Whippoorwill, Choices has evolved. Krupa explains: “We’ve added depth to the storyline and characters, and even added a few side stories to the main plot.  Though the story of Choices remains unchanged, it is told better, with more psychology and sub-plots that feed the main plot.”

In fact, Krupa has a dedication to maintaining an adaptability and commitment to improvement when it comes to Choices. After each performance, he and his team engaged in discussions with audiences and industry professionals, turning feedback into fuel for growth.

Over time, choreography and movement became more integral to the storytelling, and the narrative gained depth with added subplots and character developments. Says Krupa: “The show has improved in many ways since our original run. It was very important for me to tell the story through movement, and today’s choreography is highly intelligent and could stand alone to tell the story of Choices.”

Krupa pointed to the Emelin Theatre’s recent technological upgrades and its ideal size as reasons that the theater is a natural fit for the show’s continued development. To him, the Emelin is more than just a venue; it’s a part of Choices’ Westchester roots. The show, he says, is “a Westchester show through and through,” adding that they “never considered anything outside of Westchester” for its final workshopped shows.

Beyond those workshopped performances, Choices is packing its bags, so to speak, for a few test market dates across the country – with whispers of some potential international dates – before landing on Off-Broadway.

But the goal for Krupa isn’t just to conquer Broadway; it’s to reach as many people as possible… to have Choices performed on high school stages and have its songs resonate on radio stations.

“I truly believe that this show…can bring people who traditionally wouldn’t go to a Broadway show to the theater.”

As Choices takes off for a wider audience, the Emelin Theatre and Westchester becomes a witness to its growth. The upcoming performances are a celebration of progress, an acknowledgment of the feedback received, and a testament to the dedication of a team that is passionate about the musical’s creation and growth.

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